HURLEY CLASSIC





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This was my third year at the Hurley classic this year: this event is pretty unique and definitely deserves a visit.

It’s becoming a big event big: 220 competitors in the freestyle event. Yes it’s crazy! People come from all over Europe. America is also always well represented. It’s the 26th year of the event if i’m right.

To keep all these paddlers entertained, the schedule is busy. On saturday, i stayed in my dry suit from 6h30 am to 10 pm! The saturday morning is pretty sick. It’s called “paddle with the pros”. We are a list of around 10 “pros” and we tour around different workshops with a group of kids each. We get to know them and they get to learn about SUP, freestyle, squirt boating, kayakers ear problems, posture for paddling… It’s a pretty complete set of workshop they have for the kids, and it’s both entertaining and useful for the young ones.

Saturday afternoon is the border cross and some free paddling sessions, and then the “pros” do a little competition on saturday at night for the show. It was just a 2 rides best one count. Gav Barker won and i got second. At the Border cross we were in the finale together with Quim Fontane, Bren Orton and Ander De Miguel. We had a pretty savage fight to take the win and even though it’s pretty much flat water, we had a lot of fun and it got pretty rowdy as both of the spaniards ended up bleeding a bit. Both of my blades were a little red so i felt responsible haha.

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Finally, as i was fighting with Bren and Ander, Quim paddled around us and took over all of us, crossing the finish line in first position! He started at the worst position at the start ramp, and took the win! Pretty classic border cross action right here. Really fun!

After a very busy saturday, the most courageous of us tried to go to the pub. I was so tired that i didn’t make it. Apparently every body that went was not that fired up after such a long day neither! A good night of sleep it was time for the “Hurley Classic”: the actual freestyle competition.

The first cut is pretty tough: prelims are a 20 minutes free session in the wave with judges scoring all the tricks, then they cut straight to 5 for the finale. Not much surprise here though, i was in the finale with Quim Fontane, Bren Orton, Allan Ward and Stephen Wright.

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Steve-O was the winner of the competition 2 years ago and was 2nd last year. He’s so good at figuring out how to score during a ride that in this feature where you can surf a wave and a hole in the same ride There are two gates: one with a hole and one with a wave), he was always able to do very well. I mean you also have to be able to do what’s the best, but what i’m saying is that he’s a smart competitor.

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I was sure that he was going to do very well. Unfortunately he didn’t get his ride together and ended up 5th. Quim also had a hard time. The wave was tricky and he flushed on his rides. Paddling up when you flush is a long way back into the wave and it leaves you no chance to win.

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Bren Orton was very good, like he always is. He was doing massive airscrews and his Garb skills were remaining fully, but he also had a couple of unfortunate flushs. He finished at the 3d rank.

After we both had good rides, it was between Allan Ward and myself. Having finished first at prelims i was the last to go. When i started my last ride i had no idea who was first between Allan and I. I decided to try a really big score for my last ride and did a entry move and tried to be fast. This ride didn’t work well as i flushed on a Helix, and i kept my score of the 2nd ride. I ended up second with that one, only 25 points behind the victory!

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Allan took gold home, which i felt was a great motivation kicker for him as he is from around Hurley and haven’t won a lot of events this year even though he’s been amongst the best for years. A well deserved win for him!

Lot of action was going on, but the best thing of this weekend is how busy it is. Every body hangs out together in the big tent and you have time to chat and surf the wave. I hope to go back next year!

 

All of those sick pictures are from Photographer Jack Gunter. Check out his FB page here.

 

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